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Criminal Injuries Compensation Scheme

Volume 651: debated on Tuesday 18 December 2018

Today I am pleased to publish the terms of reference for the review of the criminal injuries compensation scheme.

Compensation has long been an important part of the Government’s response to supporting victims of violent crime, and the criminal injuries compensation scheme provides payments to those who have suffered serious physical or mental injury as the direct result of violent crime. Our scheme remains one of the most generous in Europe—something of which we can be rightly proud. While no amount of money can ever repair the harm done to an individual through violent crime, we know that compensation offers an important public acknowledgment for victims of the harm they have suffered. Compensation, alongside victims’ services and other practical and emotional support, helps victims of violent crime to start to rebuild their lives.

In 2017-18, the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority made decisions on over 40,000 applications, and paid out £154 million in compensation awards. It is essential that the scheme continues to offer access to compensation for victims injured through violent crime, and in considering whether the current scheme remains fit for purpose, we will be driven by the following principles:

Compensation should be protected for those most seriously affected by their injuries, including in cases where injuries are not immediately evident nor their impacts easily quantifiable.

Compensation offers a public acknowledgment of harm suffered by victims of violent crime.

Compensation is an important part of Government provision of end-to-end support for victims of violent crime, which also includes emotional and practical assistance for victims.

The scheme offers support for victims of violent crime who have been unable to seek compensation by other means.

The scheme complies with domestic and international legal obligations to provide compensation for victims of violent crime.

The review will examine, specifically, the scope of the scheme, the eligibility rules, requirements in relation to decision making, and the value and composition of awards. This will include looking at the balance the scheme strikes between serious and less serious physical and mental injury, and the impact of the scheme’s rules on particular groups of individuals, including victims of child sexual abuse and victims of terrorism. We will also take this opportunity to consider whether the scheme can be further simplified to provide easier access to compensation for eligible victims. We will also consider issues of affordability and financial sustainability.

A copy of the terms of reference for the review will be placed in the Libraries of both Houses and will be available online at www.gov.uk. We intend to publish a full consultation on the reform proposals in 2019.

[HCWS1198]